Three Jerusalems

Bible Study Lesson #8.02

Please read Psalms 48 & 87 before beginning the Three Jerusalem's free Bible study lesson #8.02.

"The Promised Land is a land the LORD your God cares for. He is always watching over it from the beginning of the year to the end of the year" Deuteronomy 11:12.

"This is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem!" Zechariah 8:2.

Our Two Cities' Bible study revealed how all of human history can be viewed from the perspective of two cities - Babylon and Jerusalem.

Babylon stands for everything ungodly while Jerusalem represents everything holy.

Babylon's king is Satan whose highest goal is to demolish Jerusalem. Earthly Babylon is metaphorical for Satan's kingdom, which is his temporal opposition to Christ's eternal kingdom.

Jerusalem's King is Christ, who's highest goal is to establish God's Throne in Jerusalem, the eternal, chosen Holy City of God.

The fact that earthly Jerusalem is metaphorical for Christ's Kingdom, New Jerusalem in particular, is hard for us to fathom as humans. We always seem to place more emphasis on the here & now, instead of the spiritual realities of God's Kingdom.

Maybe this insightful quote can help us, "Jerusalem's importance lies in its spiritual aspect, not its physical makeup. It's a city that lives and responds to the Holy One of Israel." Cited from Shamar.org.

Jerusalem, more than any other city, is indeed spiritual to its core. Embrace the idea.

Drilling down further into the Scriptures, we can also greatly benefit by viewing Jerusalem in three different, advancing stages.

Let me briefly explain before we begin this biblical study of three Jerusalems, which is partly historical, current, and futuristic.

Today's Jerusalem will ultimately cover a span of roughly 4,400 years. It's one of the oldest cities in existence, but its time has nearly run its troubled, divided, destined course.

Secondly, Millennial Jerusalem will cover a span of 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-9). Millennial Jerusalem will be the capitol city of Earth, beginning at the end of the Great Tribulation. Its creation, or re-creation in fact, is fast approaching us.

Finally, New Jerusalem will arrive in all its glory, replacing Millennial Jerusalem. New Jerusalem will be the capitol city of Christ's far-reaching Kingdom, the New Heavens and New Earth.

Second Chronicles 33:4b shares God's Jerusalem promise to us, "In Jerusalem shall My name be for ever." Amen.

The Lord lays claim to Jerusalem as his own possession, even though it may not appear that way to us today. After this study, however, you'll agree that the Lord never forgets his chosen City.

Our Three Jerusalem's Bible study lesson will help us mentally, physically, and spiritually frame human history. It'll motivate us to live for the future glory of God.

Let's begin with a brief history of Jerusalem, the City of Zion.

Jerusalem's Beginning

Urushalem was the earliest known name for the ancient city we know as Jerusalem. "Shalem" or "Shalom," the root word of Urushalem, was derived from "Salem" or "Salim", the Canaanite name for the Babylonian god "Shalmanu," the god of evening (i.e. dusk or twilight).

The word "Shalem" or "Shalom" eventually came to mean "peace;" therefore "Urushalem" became "the city of peace."

As you can see, the city experienced heavy pagan influences from Babylon. There were undoubtedly altars and idols built to worship Salim, the false god, on the highest hills of Urushalem. Satan always actively seeks to impede upon and destroy God's eternal plans.

Historians believe the city originated soon after Noah's Flood, which happened in 2348 B.C. Jewish tradition claims that Shem, Noah's son, and Eber, Shem's descendent (Genesis 10:21,25) settled the city. That comes as no surprise since Shem settled many cities in the middle east after the Flood.

Little is known about ancient Jerusalem, aka Urushalem, but we do know it was probably scarcely populated for hundreds of years. Urushalem was and still is located 27 miles inland from the Mediterranean coast and has few natural resources, including abundant water, which was totally un-advantageous to the settlers in antiguity.

Ancient Jerusalem

Father Abraham met King Melchizedek of Salem when the latter visited him after a hard-fought battle over the pagan kings of the Babylonian-controlled Land of Canaan. King Melchizedek informed Abraham that El-Elyon, i.e. God Most High, defeated the pagan armies through him, i.e. Abraham.

The first Hebrew, Abraham, was blessed by Salem's King Melchizedek and through the King offered a tythe to El-Elyon (Genesis 14:17-20).

For biblical perspective, know that King Melchizedek is actually the pre-incarnate Son of God, or at least an early prototype of Jesus Christ's High Priesthood. Insights from the Book of Psalms & the Epistle to Hebrews serve as the undeniable arguments for this fact: Psalm 110:1-4; Hebrews 2:16-17; 5:1-10; 7:1-8 all tell us that he was/is greater than Abraham; and finally, Hebrews 7:15 defines the relationship between the King of Salem and Christ.

The early Hebrews named the city Yerushalem and still today spell and pronounce it the same.

Yerushalem, hereafter called Jerusalem or Zion, is directly and initially mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Joshua. Of course, Satan's mark is all over the city by this point in time, even changing the name to "Jebus," as Joshua 18:16 informs us.

Joshua 10:1-5 says that Adonizedek, king of Jebus, aka Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured and completely destroyed Ai and killed its king... and destroyed Jericho and killed its king... and the Gibeonites made peace with them and became Israel's ally.

The Jebusite King Adonizedek was the pagan king of Jebus, aka Jerusalem, who attempted to strategically destroy Israel's ally, Gibeon. He feared Israel, so he gathered the Amorite armies and attacked Gibeon, but Israel was called upon to fight for their ally.

The Jewish Book of Jashar records the event and the Bible refers to it like this, "There has never been a day like this one... when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day!" (Joshua 10:13-14). The name "Israel" actually means "God fights [for us]" (Genesis 32:28).

Jerusalem, aka Jebus, had sunk into serious idolatry by this point in time. History indicates that during this period they worshiped the Babylonian gods of Ashteroth and Baal, strongly linking this city to Satan's mystery Babylonian empire.

However, it's God's anointed holy city and even though Gentiles are occasionally given the reign of Jerusalem, God will never, ever forget his chosen nation or his chosen city.

King Melchizedek, at the very least, represented Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, while King Adonizedek, at the very least, represented Satan in his attempts to thwart the LORD's plan for Jerusalem.

Remarkable stuff, huh?! Way back in the ancient middle east, the mysterious spiritual battle between God and Satan raged. Christ was symbolized by Melchizedek as King of Jerusalem; and the anti-christ was symbolized by Adonizedek as the usurper king of Jerusalem.

"So Joshua took control of the entire land, just as the LORD had instructed Moses. He gave it to the people of Israel as their special possession, dividing the land among the tribes. So the land finally had rest from war" (Joshua 11:23).

David & Solomon's Jerusalem

Thus saith the Lord GOD, "This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her" (Ezekiel 5:5).

The Jebusites were the inhabitants of Jebus (Judges 19:10-11), aka Jerusalem, during this period in Israel's history.

King Adonizedek was the king of Jebus until his death and conquest of Jerusalem, at the hand of Joshua. Interestingly, though, Joshua wasn't directed by the LORD to drive out the Jebusites from Jebus upon his conquest of the Promised Land.

The Hebrews were then led by Judges for an extended era of peace (350 years), but, the LORD gave them King Saul when the rebellious nation demanded a king (1 Samuel chapters 8-10). Of course, that situation didn't end well for the the king or for Israel.

But again, the LORD never forgets his chosen nation. Listen to Him in 1 Kings 11:36, "But to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may have a lamp always before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen for Myself to put My name."

Eventually, King David reigned over Israel (1000-961 B.C.) and the LORD immediately set David's sights on the city of Jerusalem. David's military commander, his nephew Joab, breached Jebus' walls by entering the city through an underground water shaft and led the invasion and final conquest (1 Chronicles 11:4-11).

In case you thought that activity may have resulted by chance, listen to this prophecy in 2 Chronicles 6:6, "But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel." The City of David came to be through no accident or by blind chance or circumstances.

King David ruled all of Israel from the stronghold of Jerusalem for 33 years. First Kings 15:4 states, "Nevertheless for David's sake did the LORD his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem."

His son, Solomon, then became King who also reigned from Jerusalem (961-922 B.C.). The temple was built on Mt. Moriah during Solomon's reign and Israel reached its ultimate national glory during his reign in Jerusalem.

Israel's influence upon the world during this period foreshadows Christ's Millennial reign, which will be even greater than Solomon's reign. Millennial Jerusalem will be the most amazing city in human history.

Soon after Solomon's reign Israel became a divided monarchy for more than 200 years. Assyria captured the northern ten tribes beginning around 740 B.C; while Judah was taken into Babylonian captivity in the year 586 B.C.

The Temple was also destroyed at this time, by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, as Jeremiah's prophecy came true (Jeremiah 25:11). Surprised? You shouldn't be - Babylon always reveals itself as the Lord's worst foe (even today).

The decimated city of Jerusalem then experienced a 70 year period of Sabbath rest that was foreordained by the Lord himself (2 Chronicles 36:20-21).

The LORD said, "This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, so that I will remove it from my sight" (Jeremiah 32:31).

Jerusalem's Spiritual Battles

Jerusalem was permitted to be re-established after its Sabbath discipline, but was soon overtaken by the Gentiles. Its Temple was rebuilt from 520-515 B.C.

Alexander the Great conquered Jerusalem in 332 B.C. and soon the worshiping of any god other than the Greek gods became a capital offense.

The Maccabean Revolt fought for Jewish religious freedom, which was finally won in 160 B.C. The Jewish festival Hanukkah celebrates this event along with the re-dedication of Jerusalem's Temple.

However, the Gentiles continued to tread upon Jerusalem politically as the Romans ruled Jerusalem for the centuries surrounding Christ's earthly life. The Jews maintained religious freedom through much of the Roman rule.

For an example of the spiritual battles that took place inside Jerusalem proper, recall how Satan amazingly brought Christ to Jerusalem in order to tempt him (Luke 4:9). Wow!

A few years later, Satan also directly possessed and led Judas to betray Christ (John 13:27). Satan and his minions then drove the Jewish religious people and the Roman military to crucify Christ in Jerusalem. This city hosted serious battles between Christ and Satan not once, but many times in its history.

Jerusalem is truly the historic epicenter of the spiritual war between Satan's Babylon and Christ's Jerusalem.

God Disciplines Jerusalem

True Jews have been scattered from Jerusalem for most of the nearly 2,000 since these aforementioned spiritual battles. This is known as the Second Diaspora, with the first being their captivity to Babylon in 587 B.C.

This wasn't a surprise to anyone who believes the Scriptures because it was prophecied by God's Prophets, the writers of the Tanahk and New Testament.

Jesus sent a serious message to Jerusalem for hosting so many pagan gods and killing so many of God's people, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" Matthew 23:37-39.

Fortunately, the LORD has promised to not permanently forsake Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:4), nor will he forget to re-establish David's throne (Psalm 89:3-4).

Daniel 2:44 states that Elohim will establish his eternal Kingdom and it will crush all other worldly kingdoms. Daniel 7:18 & 7:22 add that God's saints will reign and rule the Kingdom with his Son forever.

Jesus spoke about Jerusalem's oppression under the Gentile's feet and the time when that ends; but he also included the prophecy of the current Jerusalem's final demise, which happens immediately ahead of the Millennium (Luke 21:20-24).

So, after nearly two thousand years Jerusalem, Israel has returned to prominence on the world stage. This wasn't an easy thing to come to pass, humanly speaking.

Remarkably, through events that we've all studied in history class (e.g. WWI & WWII), Israel was re-established as a real nation. Let's see how that came about.

Immediately after World War I (1919) Great Britain, the biblical Tarshish, gained control over the area surrounding Jerusalem. Great Britain decreed that the Jews could return to the land. They actually built a new city named West Jerusalem, which was partly re-populated by Jews who were returning to their true homeland. 

Not surprisingly, amongst age-old and renewed tensions, the Arab-Israeli War was fought in 1948-1949. Israel, at that point in time, became a nation recognized by the newly formed United Nations.

God's chosen nation was revived after more than 1,900 years, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 11:11-12 and Ezekiel 37:1-14, etc.

Israel promptly claimed Jerusalem as its geo-political capitol, even though this hasn't be recognized by any other nation to this very day, including the United States.

The Six-Day War was fought in 1967 and the victorious Nation of Israel officially laid claim to Jerusalem from the hands of Muslim Turk power.

Although the total control of Jerusalem is still shared with the Arabs, through U.N. mandates, Israel will never accept the ruling, nor relent in its efforts to totally control Jerusalem.

The Gentile Arabs, of course, view this Israeli encroachment on Jerusalem as an illegal activity that calls for jihad, aka holy war. I included a respectable representation of the Muslim perspective: Here & Here.

Christian Jerusalem

Galatians 4:26 proves the fact of multiple Jerusalems, in case that's still a difficult concept, "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all."

Back to the old Jerusalem for a moment, which God has used heavily in the plan of redemption.

Here's an example of the length to which the LORD has claimed Zion, "Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name" (1 Kings 11:36).

He loves the city, has chosen the city, and he brought forth our Savior through the city of Zion.

Therefore the Lord GOD said, "Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable" (Isaiah 28:16).

Here's a short list that reveals how important Jerusalem is in God's plan of redemption for the Church:

  • Jerusalem was where Jesus' Father's house was located (Luke 2:49).
  • Jesus and his disciples were active in ministry in and around Jerusalem (Matthew 4:25).
  • Jesus celebrated Passover in Jerusalem (John 12:12-13).
  • He instituted the Lord's Supper in Jerusalem (Luke 22:17-20).
  • He was crucified, buried, and rose again in Jerusalem (Luke 24:18-20).
  • Jerusalem is the home of Christianity (Acts 2:1-47 & 6:7).
  • The Church continued in Jerusalem for years (Acts 21:17-19).
  • Christianity will also conclude in Jerusalem (Luke 21:24).

As opposed to most other religions, Christians have no holy site (John 18:36). In fact, Christ was adamant that we worship the LORD from wherever we are, but in spirit and truth (John 4:21-24).

Jerusalem should capture all Christians' interest, because it's the chosen city of our Lord and our Savior's eternal home, not to mention our own.

Jesus will return to Jerusalem in order to wipe out his enemies and begin his Millennial reign as King of the Earth (Hebrews 10:13).

The city simply cannot be ignored by Christians; therefore, let's watch the Jews return to Israel, because once they're gathered in their capitol, a treaty will soon be signed with the antichrist. After a short reign of terror on his behalf, Christ will return with a vengeance.

We should praise God for the return of Israel to the Middle East, for we now know that Christ's Second Coming is upon us. 

"Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel" Psalms 147:1-2.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Millennial Jerusalem & New Jerusalem

To this point, we've focused mostly on historical Jerusalem, the first of three Jerusalems. Let's expand our study a bit for this section.

The Old Testament, especially the Major & Minor Prophets, is packed with teaching on Millennial Jerusalem. The Hebrew Scriptures, aka Tanahk, teach about the Messiah ruling in Jerusalem, the new Temple, and a future burgeoning Hebrew population.

Also, don't let the current state of the city of Jerusalem cloud your understanding of the two future Jerusalems - all three are totally different.

There are tons of Scripture passages discussing the current "old" Jerusalem, which we know, and also the Millennial Jerusalem.

But, when it comes to the futuristic New Jerusalem there is little prophetic word, especially in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament was searched endlessly looking for specific teaching on the New Jerusalem. It was a hard task because one has to sift through the biblical text, discerning if the specific prophecy is describing Millennial Jerusalem or New Jerusalem. These are two totally different cities built for two totally different eras of time.

Discerning the difference between them takes knowledge of the Bible and patience in searching for it. The two cities have similarities and differences, so a researcher has to carefully read all passages in context, determining which city is being discussed - the Millennial Jerusalem or the New Jerusalem.

For instance, the two cities share these similar attributes: they're either rebuilt or new; they have a different or a new light source; Christ is King of both; promises of safety and security to the inhabitants; much joy and celebration; little to no rebellion within either city; glistening rivers; and Garden of Eden-like animal and plant qualities.

Millennial Jerusalem and New Jerusalem also contrast markedly with these attributes: one city is rebuilt by human hands, the other designed and built by God himself (Hebrews 8:1-2); one has a Temple, the other does not; animal sacrifices occur in one but not the other; one has a brightened sun and moon, while the other has no need for a sun or moon; and babies are still being born and people still die in one, while in the other the human population is locked.

There are more differences, but know that you, too, can now read the Scriptures and understand which of the future Jerusalems the Bible speaks.

Study Millennial Jerusalem here: Christ's Coming Millennium, Bible Study Lesson #8.06.
Study New Jerusalem here: Christ's New Jerusalem, Bible Study Lesson #8.07. 

God Has Not Forgotten Jerusalem

Many people believe that Jerusalem is currently and absolutely forsaken and forgotten by God. That unfortunate sentiment couldn't be farther from reality.

Added to that, is the fact that certain fake European "Jews" control much of the world's riches, power, and military might. They're nothing but satanic-inspired imposters; however, God uses them in their sick corruption to fashion the world's scene.

Don't forget that Satan is the prince of the earth. God has given him the reigns of the corrupt world's system because of our sin, which resulted in the Curse. All corruption is humanity's fault.

This altogether tempts many of us to despise Israel, the Jews, and anyone who supports them. Don't fall into this temptation.

The things we're discussing have little to do with current Judaism, per se, but with world and national events. Let's continue to let God's word determine our thoughts on Jerusalem, Israel.

The truth is clear in Scripture, against which no one dare argue, "Yet God declared that He will not forget Jerusalem; He will establish an everlasting covenant with her" (Ezekiel 16:60-63).

There is a covenant with Israel and the true Jews, and with Jerusalem, and IF WE HATE Israel, the true Jews, and Jerusalem, WE ARE OUTSIDE OF GOD'S WILL. My friends, we don't want to go there - there is nothing to gain by opposing Israel. 

Despite how we're led to interpret the nightly news give ALL your attitudes about it over to Christ. Submit to the the LORD's will. Let circumstances play out, and pray that God's forces will defeat Satan's forces in the Middle East.

God promises to win the final battle, "And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" Zechariah 12:9. So, with that promise, why not get on board with Him?

"Thus says the Lord: 'I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain'" Zechariah 8:3. Why wouldn't we love Jerusalem, Israel? It's our future inheritance.

Let's love Christ's future home, and our home, too. Desire it. Pray for it.

Jerusalem - Your Future Home

Joel 3:20 records God promising that, "Judah will be filled with people forever, and Jerusalem will endure through all generations. I will pardon my people's crimes which I have not yet pardoned; and I, Elohim, will make my home in Jerusalem with my people."

Everyone who loves the LORD through the person and work of Christ will live with him forever, in Jerusalem.

Ephesians 3:6-9 tells us that God's mysterious plan includes BOTH Jews & Gentiles sharing equally in the incredible riches promised to all of God's children, i.e. those who express faith in God, through Christ.

In an incredibly amazing passage, Hebrews 12:22-25 NLT, the Bible tells us exactly to what and to whom we've come since joining God's family.

In short, upon receiving salvation by faith, we've entered Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem and Elohim's home; along with his holy angels, and we've joined all those people who believe in Him.

We've actually come to God Himself, YHWH, and to His Son, Yeshua the Christ. Meditate on this passage and let the blessing permeate your entire soul. Our greatest desire should be for the Father, his Son, and Jerusalem!!

Grasp This!

How can we live properly, now that we know all this incredible information? What do we do with this heavenly knowledge?!

We're commanded, first of all, to seek to have the "attitude of Christ" (Philippians 2:5). As his follower, we should love what Christ loved, act like Christ acted, and long for what Christ longed for. We should completely follow Him by seeking to match his love, acts, and desires.

Let's LOVE his word, the Bible. Read it constantly. Let's listen to Him speak through his word. He tells us exactly what he loves, how he acts, and he shares his desires with us.

Finally, we want God's will to be done, which is the first thing on Christ's heart. His Father's will must be done on earth as it is in Heaven. ALL things bow the knee to God's pre-determined, eternal plans. Submit graciously to Him.

In regards to this study on the three Jerusalems, God's will for us, in fact his command to us, is this, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee” (Psalms 122:6).

Love Jerusalem, Israel, God's chosen nation and holy city, despite how you view the nation's activities on the nightly news. Their recent historical revival definitely points to Christ's imminent return, which we should all desire.

"When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory" (Psalms 102:16). God is building up Zion as we speak, please, please understand.

God's will is being done. Therefore, no matter how Israel, Palestine (aka Canaanites), the U.S., Great Britain, the Muslim world, the Russians, Iran, etc are displayed on national T.V., just trust the fact that God is in complete control.

That's right, God is spiritually guiding the physical world's events. Satan is under God's authority. The despicable world-elites are under his thumb. Every nation operates under his feet. Every king, prince, president, prime minister, and every other world leader is actually "guided" by God's hand.

Trust the LORD, do not fear. He will soon return to squash our enemies, and to establish his eternal Kingdom in Jerusalem.

Sinner's Prayer

Dear Lord, I LOVE your Holy City. Thank you for your blessings upon Jerusalem. I pray Lord that any bigotry I have towards your true Israel be stopped immediately, and forgiven by You. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Lord. I pray that more people realize that Jesus will bring with him real peace that will last eternally. Oh Lord, open our eyes to see what you see in Jerusalem. Show us the real Israel. Father, reveal your whole will to we who believe. In Christ's Name, Amen.

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